Sony ATRAC CD Walkman Buying Guide

Store up to 30 CDs on one disc

No matter what some people say, size is important. And it doesn't get much more important than when you're talking about CD capacity. If you prefer CDs, but you're fed up with lugging them about, then a Sony ATRAC CD Walkman is the ideal travel accessory. It can play standard audio CDs as well as CD-Rs encoded in ATRAC3, ATRAC3plus and even MP3.

A standard audio CD holds around 74 minutes of audio, however ATRAC technology allows you to "burn" up to 490 tracks, that's about 30 CDs, on to a standard 80-minute CD-R. In addition to this, each ATRAC model boasts a massive battery life (model D-NE1 has a battery life of up to 150 hours) so you can enjoy more of your music on the move with no hassle.

Each Sony ATRAC CD Walkman model includes the SonicStage Simple Burner PC software that enables you to encode and burn audio files into ATRAC format. So, if your audio player is looking a bit inadequate perhaps it's time to move over to ATRAC.

ATRAC3 and ATRAC3plus

ATRAC3, which stands for "Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding3", is audio compression technology that satisfies the demand for high-quality sound with high compression rates. The ATRAC3 format can compress music content to about 1/10 of its original size, which contributes to reduction of the media volume. The available transfer bit rates are 132 kbps, 105 kbps and 66 kbps. So the lower the transfer rate, the lower the file size and audio quality. ATRAC3plus compresses audio data even smaller to about 1/20 of its original size. The available transfer bit rates for ATRAC3plus are 64 kbps and 48 kbps.

SonicStage Simple Burner software

Getting so many music files onto one CD does take some doing, but thankfully, the SonicStage Simple Burner software supplied with every Sony ATRAC CD Walkman is more than up for the mammoth task. Compatible with most PCs with Windows OS Windows 98 second edition or above, SonicStage allows you to create a disc "image" by selecting the tracks you want to include on the final disc.

You can select either audio CDs or MP3 files stored on your computer. You can also mix the two together. Once you've selected the tracks, you can then create folders or groups for selected tracks. For example, you may want to hold one particular artist or genre in a group or simply have separate groups for each CD album. You can even change the order of the tracks and attach names to them. If you're compressing a whole CD into ATRAC, you can even delete tracks that you don't like; it's completely up to you. Once you're happy with the disc image, you then simply burn it onto a blank CD-R/RW. It really is that simple.